April 19th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Joseph

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Joseph
photo courtesy of Beth Walker, St. Jospeh

Mitro continues to teach character as sport participation increases

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

With the 2011-2012 school year winding down, St. Joseph of Bardstown’s Athletic Director Mike Mitro is winding up for the completion of a new parish hall that will host an additional gym facility for his student athletes.

“The parish hall should be done by May, and it will relieve some stress on my gym next year to allow everyone more space for practice time,” said Mitro.

Mitro, in his sixth year as athletic director, is all about participation and building strong teammates. According to him, a new facility will continue to expand opportunities to young student athletes in the parish.

“We will use the new space for basketball and volleyball practices starting this summer and into the fall,” said Mitro.

This past year brought more athletic success, according to Mitro. For an athletic director who does not pay to much attention to wins and losses, as he would say, he is proud of the teams overall.

“This spring we have two separate girl volleyball teams that have done very well for grades 6,7, and 8,” said Mitro. “Our tournament play starts this week for grades 7 and 8 at Bethlehem High School, where we have a great working relationship with Tom Brown (athletic director at Bethlehem High School).

In addition to successful spikes on court, Mitro said the boys basketball program excelled this past year as well.

 “Our 7th grade “Red” team had a very good season, and our boys’ teams in grades 4, 5, 6 did very well also,” said Mitro. “At the end of the season, we had two fourth grade teams play one another for a Division Championship. That was awesome, and it was a really special highlight his year.”

Now, with baseball underway, Mitro says he looks forward to the possibility to start golf and tennis programs in the future after overcoming a few hurdles.

“With our seasons, it’s tough because kids are playing other sports. With new sports, signups for coaches would also be needed,” said Mitro.

When observing next year’s sports activities, Mitro says he knows of about three or four kids that look to compete next year in archery. While there was no student who participated in that sport this year, he is encouraged by the interest for the upcoming season.

Mitro also included that he is encouraged by the development of the St. Jospeh Cross-Country program this past year with roughly 15 participants.

“I just want to make sure that every child that wants to play something in sports gets to participate,” said Mitro. “I would say nearly 100% of our kids that play here at St. Joseph go onto play something in high school. 90% or so of our kids go onto Bethlehem High School, and they try to continue play there.”

With a desire to see his student athletes go onto high school and beyond to achieve great things, Mitro, said one of his best memories this past year was honoring Mr. Danny Curly Lane, a longtime St. Joseph employee. He recently retired after 40 plus years of service to the school.

“He has been a clock-keeper for our sports for as long as I remember,” said Mitro. “And they recently named a nearby lane to the school ‘Curly Lane.’

With a love for the parish, school and the community, Mitro says he wants to continue in his role as athletic director to push young athletes to become the best people they can be.

Said Mitro: “I’ve been doing it for six years, and I want to continue in it. I have had fun with it, and I enjoy the kids. I want to get them involved as much as possible.”


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